SPOKANE — Lincoln County law officers say a 15-year-old boy is their main suspect in the attempted kidnapping of a 22-month-old toddler — an incident that drew wide attention after it was caught on surveillance video.
The boy, who lives in the small farming town of Sprague in Eastern Washington, was arrested on Wednesday, Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said.
“Deputies and detectives have worked relentlessly on this case,” Magers said in a press release. They started focusing on the arrested suspect in the past 24 hours.
“Additional evidence, interviews, DNA collection, and surveillance” were carried out, Magers said. “A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence.”
The identity of the youth was being withheld because he is a juvenile.
The dramatic surveillance video footage showed a male running down a sidewalk with the toddler in his arms in Sprague last Sunday.
The child’s two siblings screamed and chased him. The scene ended after two teenage boys joined the chase, and the man put down the toddler and fled. The toddler was not hurt.
One of the kidnap victim’s young siblings also positively identified the suspect, Magers said.
The 15-year-old was booked into a juvenile detention facility on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping, Magers said. The Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office will make the formal charging decisions.
Magers thanked the media for distributing pictures of the suspect and the public for providing tips.
Sprague is a town of about 500 people on I-90, about 40 miles west of Spokane.
The incident began after Michael Wright left his three children with a baby sitter in Sprague on Sunday while he went to work. The children — Brenden, 10, Delicia, 8, and the toddler — were playing unsupervised in a city park near the sitter’s house.
Sheriff’s deputies said the suspect talked with the children for a few minutes, then scooped the toddler out of his stroller and ran down the street. Surveillance video from a grocery store showed the kidnapper running, child in arms, with Delicia chasing and Brenden not far behind.
Delicia’s screams alerted Dorothy Giddings, who was working at her antique store downtown.
Giddings said she realized what was happening and sent her grandson Andrew Crane, 15, and his friend Isaac Yow, 16, to chase the man.
As the older boys approached, the kidnapper put the child down in a vacant lot and fled, the sheriff’s office said.
No vehicle was seen with the kidnapper, who was initially described by the sheriff’s office as about 30 years old, 6-foot to 6-foot-2, with a thin build, brown hair and a mustache.